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The Single Market: A Danish Priority

Submitted by on 09 Mar 2012 – 11:03

By Michael Dithmer, Danish Permanent Secretary for Business and Growth

Denmark has four fundamental priorities for the Presidency – to create a more responsible, dynamic, green and safe Europe.

The paramount task will be to emerge safely from the current deep crisis in the EU, to ensure economic stability and to create the foundation for new growth and employment in Europe. This requires responsible economic policies ensuring sustainable public finances and implementing necessary financial and fiscal reforms. In order to create a more dynamic Europe, we need to deepen and widen the Single Market.

The Single Market can be a key tool in making Europe more dynamic. The Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements and has created growth and new jobs since its creation in 1992. That is why modernising the Single Market, adapting it to new technologies and using it to facilitate creation of jobs and growth is an important priority for the next six months.
The Danish Presidency wants to give high priority to the 12 key initiatives set out in the Single Market Act by the Commission. The focus will be on reaching agreement on the concrete legislative acts that will help modernise and simplify Single Market regulations, reduce the administrative burdens on EU companies and ensure the best conditions for European consumers. Also, reforming financial regulation is important in ensuring financial stability and supporting lending to the economy.

We especially want to make progress on the reform of the European patent system, the revision of the public procurement directive, the accounting directives, the venture capital proposal and the standardisation package. We will also focus on the digital single market where we especially hope to reach an agreement on the roaming regulation, which can help lower prices for mobile phone networks across the EU.

Reforming the European patent system will be a significant benefit to European companies, as it will make it easier for them to patent and enforce their inventions. The Danish Presidency will give high priority reaching agreement on the final elements of the package.
Reform of the public procurement rules can be a driver for growth. Simpler rules will help innovative companies, especially SMEs, access the public market. We believe that public procurement has potential to make a significant impact on the revitalisation of the Single Market as a driver for sustainable growth.

By simplifying the EU’s accounting rules, we can help cut the administrative burdens on small businesses. It will make company statements more comparable, clearer and easier to understand and free resources that can be better spent on making business.

The Danish Presidency will strive to modernise the standardisation rules to enable standards to be set more quickly in line with technological developments, with due respect to the qualities of a European system based on openness, transparency and inclusiveness. This will help build trust between businesses and consumers, and help businesses more quickly access the 500 million consumers in the Single Market.
The Digital Single Market is an important element in modernising the Single Market and making it more dynamic. Life is increasingly online for all of us and it is important that the cost of accessing mobile phone networks abroad is fair and transparent. It should not be too expensive to use your mobile phones whether phoning, sending an SMS or downloading data from the internet. It is also important that consumers feel confident buying goods and services online from other EU countries. Access to easy dispute resolution when something goes wrong might pave the way for more cross-border e-commerce.

European Ministers responsible for the Single Market will be invited to Copenhagen on the 2nd – 3rd February 2011 in order to focus on the necessary actions to create a more functional Digital Single Market. This will involve looking at how we can increase trust in cross-border online trade and how companies and citizens can access digital possibilities to create growth.

The financial crisis has underlined the need for strengthened regulation and supervision of the financial sector to ensure healthy financial institutions in a self-sustained financial system guided by sound incentives and responsible risk management. The Danish Presidency is committed to ensure speedy progress on the financial regulatory agenda. In particular the Commission’s proposal on revised capital and liquidity requirements for credit institutions (CRD IV) is a key priority.


The Danish Presidency also wants to make significant progress on creating a green Europe. The Presidency will prioritise the Commission’s proposal for an energy efficiency directive. Establishing a common EU framework for energy efficiency is paramount to reaching the goal of a 20 % reduction in energy use by 2020 in a cost-effective manner. At the same time such a framework should allow for flexibility and time for adaptation by Member States. The Danish EU Presidency wants to ensure that the energy efficiency improvement directive negotiations make as much progress as possible
It is my hope that the efforts of the Danish Presidency will contribute a significant step forward to put Europe at work for the benefit of citizens and companies.